2 July 2014

A Younger Me - The School Report


Me aged 12 (and yes, I look exactly like my son!)
Thirty years on and my memories of secondary school days are somewhat hazy (looking at that hairstyle, I would imagine this is a good thing!). There are of course certain elements that I will never forget: the painstaking walk home which was, in reality, only about 150 yards; the panic over losing my bus pass for the umpteenth time; and the burgers that smelt of B.O. but still remained the highlight of our week. 

In addition to these fairly inconsequential matters, I recall constant reprimands for being "too chatty". When my mother kindly gifted me with all my old school reports just recently, this label was confirmed....



"I am disappointed with Suzanne's approach, she is very able but consistently fails to apply herself. She lacks concentration and talks too much. This spoils her otherwise pleasant personality - calm down!" 

"I do wonder if the 'friendly chatting' which goes on, is not in fact preventing Suzanne from changing her Bs and B-s to As" 

"I could wish for a little less chatter as although this does not distract from her own work, it could do from those around her."

"I've enjoyed listening to Suzanne arguing with her friends but she does need to try not to steam-roller!"

After getting over the initial hilarity (particularly from the last comment),  it suddenly dawned on me that these reports could have been written about my youngest daughter. Most teachers and people who know The Tween, would describe her as chatty and excitable but that is something I have always loved about her. When and why did this attribute ever become a negative label?  

Moving further on to my sixth form days, something changed....

"Suzanne is too quiet"

"She works quietly and well"

"Suzanne is a quiet student and needs to contribute more in class."

Of course it might have been a coincidence, or the effect of moving  from the familiarity of secondary school, on to a large and impersonal sixth form college, but what happened to the "too chatty" me? Thankfully, current friends and family will testify that my ability to 'talk for England' didn't leave me altogether, but I do question why it was ever seen as anything but positive. 

With school report season upon us, perhaps we should stop criticizing every seemingly negative aspect of our child's school report and consider the ways in which we can hone these skills or develop them into something positive for his/her future. Personally, I think I've done ok in life and I'm certain that my 'chatty' daughter will too.

Did you have a recurring theme in your school reports? Is this 'label' something you have struggled to shake off? Do you think that "chatty" should be deemed as negative?


This is my entry for The Gallery where the theme this week is 'A Younger Me'.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

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35 comments:

  1. OMG I had the same hair cut at 12! Maybe it was trendy???? All my reports said I was too quiet - hard to get the right mix I think x

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    1. Everyone seemed to have that awful short back and sides plus flick in those days....thank goodness it's gone!

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  2. I was also always told off for being too chatty, so I agree, I think us happy chatty kids got a bad rap from the teachers - surely its a good thing!

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    1. I suppose learning to use our 'chattiness' at the right moments would have been helpful!

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  3. Those reports made me laugh! And that photo - glad you look like your son (and therefore a boy) because I looked like my son (and was always mistaken for a boy) too! I think 'chatty' is OK if channelled in the right way ie used for class discussions, but perhaps not as good when kids are supposed to be working quietly. Although what do I know about secondary education?

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    1. I also have a spot on my chin which is always good! I know what you mean about channelling the chat but there's always something - too chatty, too quiet - what's a kid to do?!

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  4. I don't think I have a school report that doesn't say I'm too chatty either. Glad I wasn't alone :-)

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  5. My mom gave me all my old reports last year. The general theme was I was too shy in class and didn't want to speak in groups. Nothing changes! My children are all chatterboxes, they must get that from their dad #sharewithme

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  6. I look liek a boy so my mother makes sure that I have long hair always so that people will know. I cant have short hair. So in college I cut my hair short and yes a lot of people mistook me for a boy =P

    Thanks for the tip about the school cards. I know that I will probably react badly in the future but this made me realize of my report cards too. Maybe I will give my son some slack and just help him be better next time =)

    #TheGallery

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  7. My school reports always said I was inattentive and silly (I was the class clown). Great photo x

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    1. Everyone loves a class clown!

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  8. Friendly chat! Born to blog....

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  9. Lucas says - I can certainly guess what the Mother's school report said.......... "Too Loud..........." he he
    Grace says - Lucas is so rude sometimes. I showed Mummy this post and she said her reports were very similar to yours and that she really enjoyed reading this.
    #sharewithme

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  10. What a fab post. My mum and dad recently dug out my school reports and my personal favourite comment was from when I was 10............... "Catherine (as I was then known) must learn not to let her imagination run away with her so much. It's sometimes very hard to tell whether she's actually in the same room as us!"
    #sharewithme

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  11. chatty should never bee deemed as negative!! ... although i have to say some of those reports did actually make me LOL

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  12. Oh my gosh reading those comments are always exactly what mine said at that age too. I don't understand why they think being social and outgoing is such a hindering thing. It's helped me so much in life and not holding me back from doing what I want and striving for great things. I love that your daughter is the same as I hope mine will be. And instead of getting in trouble for it I think it should just be guided in the best way possible. Love this and the photo! Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

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  13. Oh wow I love reading old reports - they made me chuckle a bit. You've not changed much, besides the hair!
    I went completely the other way - I was "too quiet" and then almost chucked out of uni...I'm still not too sure why!! :)

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    1. Not changed much? How depressing! I think there's always something for teachers to complain about. We're born with our personalities, why try to change it?

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  14. This is brilliant. It's too easy to forget that we were there once, being scrutinized for everything about our ability. It's tough being young! It's hard not to see the negatives but with more children we have relaxed. As long as they are happy, doing okay and participating in lessons that's all that matters. (Digging the photo - good on you for sharing!)

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    1. I think your advice hit the nail on the head. It took a lot for me to share that hideous photograph lol!

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  15. Ah, you cannot win - either too chatty or too quiet! It's hard as I have a chatty daughter and I love that about her, so hope she doesn't get told it's a negative thing when she starts school - as long as she also listens!

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    1. Yes there's obviously a time and place but I think chattiness should be celebrated!

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  16. I'm another who had a similar hair cut as well. Definitely a late 80s/90s cut for girls who couldn't be hassled with long hair!

    I was totally opposite at school. Always told I needed to speak up more in class, even though I was a high achiever, sporty and musical. Then went to a private school for 6th form, a boys school with only around 20 girls in our year...and all of a sudden was happy to chat more. I was still quiet compared to some, but much more up for standing up for myself and my thoughts with teachers.

    I think at school you always get picked up on it...as long as you learn how to use that, and build them into a strength, then these things can be positives. Unfortunately schools don't necessarily give you the chance to do this, and often it's left until you're at work to work this out (or not)

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    1. Seriously, that haircut shouldn't have been allowed! Interesting the way we change and develop depending on our surroundings,isn't it? Basically you summed up my post in your last paragraph - exactly what I wanted to say :)

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  17. OMG! I am so hoping that my daughters never get hold of any of my school reports. They have been angelic at school in comparison. Thanks for being brave enough to share.

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  18. What a great post! I have a collage at home of reports written about amazing people when they were at school which I put up to nerve me on to open my son's school reports which were almost uniformly awful.

    Jilly Cooper: "Jilly has set herself an extremely low standard which she has failed to maintain"

    John Lennon: "Certainly on the road to failure...hopeless.."

    They gave me hope!

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  19. And they wonder why we grow into adults who never think we are good enough!

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  20. Chatty is definitely a good thing! I think it's sad that your teacher said it spoils your otherwise pleasant personality! Surely it is a part of your personality? I hope that no one tries to quash any part of my children's personality - or they will meet the meerkat mum! Thanks for your lovely comment on my post. I've been a bit quiet on the waves of late as having a little breather, and not planning to do much over the summer either so please don't be offended if I don't comment on your blog - I'm ignoring everyone equally! Is this blog suicide? I hope not ;) xxx

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    1. Yes Jess, it is part of my personality and one of the better parts I feel! If you read my latest post, you will see that I'm planning to have a breather over the summer too. I am sure (hope) that it's not blog suicide. Even it is then we'll all be dead! x x

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  21. What a fab post and thats so exciting that you still have your school reports from why back when. Gosh I couldnt even BARE to think where mine would be now!! x

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    1. My mum also kept my piano exam reports! I've kept my kids' too. I think it's a really special memory :)

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  22. Interesting to know that you have still your school reports like me. by the way what is your age now?

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    1. I am sure you can work it out!

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  23. I think you a brave Suzanne! I was going to do the exact same post (well not with your reports!!) a few weeks ago and have been sitting on them for fear of feeling very exposed. Perhaps we just become more of what we started out as? One of my reports, like yours could have been written about my son. I emailed it to his teacher a couple of months back and she just laughed all the way across her return email. Lots of 'h's and 'a's :)

    Perhaps we're just wired so strongly that no amount of nurture will change how we really are. Lovely post ! x

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  24. I think I'm probably glad I don't have to relive the horror of my old school reports. I always did very well academically but was often seen as stubborn (or one might more positively say, independent!!). I was constantly in trouble at secondary school for wearing non-uniform coats, socks, shoes - but always won the prizes for English and RE. I just hated rules for the sake of having rules. In retrospect I bet the teachers hated me!! Interesting I should eventually wind up as a freelance journalist! My eldest daughter is very obliging and a 'delight to teach' apparently. She obviously gets that from her father!!!

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